Raving over Adobe Creative Cloud or using free software?

Raving over Adobe Creative Cloud or using free software?

The Internet is buzzing with news from Adobe MAX 2013. How is the switch to subscriptions going to affect the industry and free software? And how does free software stand against upcoming creative cloud apps?

The tired competition debate

Once you start talking to developers of GIMP, Inkscape and other apps, you realize that what drives them is the will to implement their own ideas. Strong feelings against proprietary vendors such as Adobe are actually rare.

But there's a problem with wider audience: not everybody gets that. An anecdotal evidence suggests that some users even think they know better why developers make free software:

Any claim from someone informed about GIMP's development that replacing Photoshop wasn't a major consideration in the design change is disingenuous to the point of insult.

(A user on the save/export paradigm change in GIMP 2.8.)

Whether we like it or not, we are going to deal with a situation where people are trying to compare GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus et al. against respective counterparts among Adobe Creative Cloud tools. So the first part of this article is a feature map between them.

I've no intention to try mapping all features of the upcoming update of Adobe's “suite”. It took Steve Czaika no less than 25 pages just to go through basic feature comparison between Photoshop and GIMP. Besides one of the points of Adobe's subscription model is that new Creative Cloud features will become available immediately, thus making a huge chunk of this article incomplete. Similarly, changes in unstable versions of respective free software will eventually make this text obsolete — hopefully, with your help.

Instead of trying to cover every angle let's focus on just the new features of Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign, and how they are represented in free software. After that let's talk about how Adobe's switch to subscription model may affect free software ecosystem.

Where applicable, I'll provide information about potential solutions that require programming intervention, or refer to darktable and Krita instead of listing just GIMP options. All cloud-related features are discussed in a separate section.

Disclaimer: I'm member of both GIMP, Inkscape, and darktable teams.

Photoshop CC and GIMP

If you are not up to date with what's happening in the GIMP land, I suggest you to have a go at the official feature roadmap.

In short, upcoming GIMP 2.10 has up to 32bit float per color channel precision supported by all transformation, selection and painting tools, as well as all filters. It also has unified transform tool and is getting much improved foreground selection tool as you read this.

References to new Photoshop features:

Smart Sharpen. Not currently available and not tracked as a feature request. The existing Wavelet Sharpen and Wavelet Denoise plug-ins could serve as a foundation for such a tool.

Intelligent upsampling. Available in unstable version. Better downsampling and upsampling algorithms are a work in progress in GEGL, the new GIMP's engine. NoHalo and LoHalo samplers have been completed and are already available in GIMP's user interface to those who are brave enough to play with unstable code. Work on LoJaggy and LoBlur samplers is currently postponed.

NoHalo scaling option

See preliminary GIMP 2.10 review on gimpusers.com for a better illustration of new samplers

Camera shake reduction. There are two 3rd party deconvolution filters for GIMP: refocus and refocus-it. Both are considerably outdated and unmaintained. Contribution from new developers is welcome. There's a number of papers available on the subject.

Editable rounded rectangles, multi-shape and path selection. Not available. Both features are technically possible in GIMP with vector layers back-end which is currently lacking user interface. Developers wanted.

Expanded Smart Object support. Not available. Non-destructive application of filters to linked layers is relatively easy to do with future GEGL-based GIMP. Unstable version of GIMP already has API for stacking filters on layers, but isn't going to expose it in the user interface until at least v3.0. Linking external documents as layers, which is a prerequisite, is also at least a v3.0 feature (Krita has it in the unstable branch).

Improved 3D painting, 3D Scene panel. GIMP currently isn't aiming at providing 3D features.

Global type styles. Not available. It was covered during usability research, though. This project needs a complete functional specification from the usability team and a dedicated developer.

Text editing in GIMP 2.8 got a lot better, but needs further work

Copying of CSS attributes. Generation of CSS code (like rounded buttons with gradient fills) is currently not available in GIMP, not tracked as a feature request, and probably shouldn't be expected — at least, not until vector layers get a user interface. You can generate CSS code out of an existing gradient though (available in stable version), but that's far from PS's feature set.

Conditional Actions. No direct equivalent available, possible with future GEGL-based GIMP. The feature isn't currently tracked in bugzilla. Programming-savvy users don't need to worry about that, as they have a variety of languages to write scripts for GIMP with (Scheme, Python, Ruby etc.).

Workflow time-savers. Adobe lists numerous examples of usability improvements in that section. Some of them have been available in GIMP for years, some are relatively new, and some are not available yet.

Color import from web files. Not available and not tracked as a feature request. It's a low-hanging fruit though, as GIMP already has a tool for creating swatches from images and is capable of rendering a web page into an image via Webkit.

System anti-aliasing for type. Partially available. Photoshop and GIMP have a feature overlap here. Photoshop used to render type without hinting, and now it's also capable of representing text the way operating systems render it. This is what GIMP has been doing since its inception, although it always uses Freetype for the rendering of type instead of simulating output of native shaping and hinting engines on Windows and Mac.

Hinting in GIMP

Instead of smooth scaling GIMP rasterizes type and provides control over hinting

Improved Min and Max filters. GIMP currently doesn't have controls over masks, unless you count running Gaussian blur over a mask as such. This also isn't tracked as a feature request.

ACR as filter. While the existing stable version of GIMP still relies on UFRaw for opening photos in RAW formats, the future GEGL-based version will use a completely different approach to processing, where any filters and tools are available to GIMP, and RAW opened is just another loader. So this will be available out of box.

Various new ACR/Lightroom tools, such as Radial Gradient and Upright tool are either available in the stable version of darktable or are expected to ship in the next one. E.g. radial gradient is simply a mask applied to a new instance of exposure plug-in.

TL;DR on GIMP. Some of the new Photoshop features are available in either stable or unstable versions of GIMP. Others are a low-hanging fruit for an interested contributor and can be implemented right away or need a complete GEGL port (which is a work in progress). Apart from 3D, none of the new features in Photoshop present a huge technical challenge.

Illustrator CC and Inkscape

It's worth mentioning that during the current development cycle Inkscape already got a huge amount of polishing and cleanup, as well as useful new features. For an overview please refer to preliminary release notes on v0.49.

References to new Illustrator features:

Touch Type tool. Available, but implemented differently. Adobe basically provided a kind of Inkscape's Selector tool for separate glyphs. Inline formatting has been available in Inkscape for a long, long time. And that's including rotation of glyphs.


Silly example of inline glyph rotation. See Inkscape Text Tricks for reference.

Images in brushes. Not available. Inkscape's brush system is entirely vector based and operates on single/compound paths.

Auto corners for pattern brushes. Not available. Theoretically it's possible with live path effects which are used for the brush system. Patches are welcome.

Font search. Partially available. Inkscape is capable of filtering fonts by matching search query to font names. Font faces are neither displayed nor searched for in the list are are available for selection in another drop-down list.

Filtering fonts by name in Inkscape

Filtering fonts by name in Inkscape

Multiple file place. Not available. Dropping multiple images from e.g. file manager just works, but Inkscape doesn't do anything beyond merely linking them.

CSS extraction. Not available. Inkscape ships with extensions for slicing images and generating HTML5+CSS code from a document, but doesn't generate CSS code for standalone objects.

Sync colors. Not available. Kuler does have an API, but creating a libre social service for swatches along the lines of Open Clip Art or Open Font Library would be preferable.

Area and point type conversion. Partially available. It's possible to convert flowed text (area type) into simple text object (point type), but it doesn' work in the opposite direction. Flowed text implementation in Inkscape is an old sad story. It's best not to expect this feature until flowed text is reimplemented.

On-art Free Transform. Partially available. Inkscape has been providing on-canvas handles for transformation of objects since its early releases. The difference is that envelope transformation is a live path effect and hence is available separately.

Text envelope

Envelope transform is a path effect in Inkscape

File packaging. Available. Stable version of Inkscape ships with an extension that collects all files including fonts into a ZIP archive.

Easily unembed images. Available. Stable version of Inkscape ships with an extension that unembeds images from SVG to a user defined folder and links to them instead.

Expanded Links panel options. Not available, tracked as a feature request. Preliminary work on that has been done, user interface is currently missing. An interested contributor could still be in time to get it into v0.49.

TL;DR on Inkscape. A considerable amount of major new Illustrator's features are already available in Inkscape. The ones that are not available are generally of two kinds: 1) not possible to do without extending SVG specification, and 2) not available due to lack of dedicated developers.

InDesign CC and Scribus

Scribus has a somewhat painfully slow development cycle which is explained by two factors: attempt to make stable versions really stable and provide reliable PDF output (print runs are pricey), insufficient manpower.

A lot of long overdue features such as bullet/numeric lists, real tables, footnotes, and IDML support are only available in the unstable version. For a complete list please refer to the official 1.5.x roadmap.

References to new InDesign features:

Background update for document settings. Not available, not tracked as a feature request.

Modern UI. Scribus is slowly getting there. The unstable branch features dockable dialogs instead of floating palettes (you can still float them, if you like) and various usability improvements.

HiDPI and Retina display support. Should be supported in user interface widgets in unstable version when built with Qt 5.1. Support for HiDPI displays for all canvas objects needs checking.

Font search and filter, instant font preview, font favorites. Not available.

QR Code Creator. Partially available. When generating a QR code, Scribus creates a group of vector objects, so the code is scalable. However Scribus provides a simple text input, whereas InDesign makes it possible to store whole business card information or an email message.

QR code generation in Scribus

Inline TOC and index generation in EPUB. Not available. Generation of EPUB with Scribus is a strictly experimental incomplete feature a this point, and it's only available in one of the unstable Git branches.

TL;DR for Scribus. It's easy to notice that most of the major new features in InDesign are improvements rather than big fat changes. Scribus, however, is still “getting there”. The team is currently being sponsored by Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, but is, nevertheless, somewhat understaffed. Official unstable release, v1.5.0 is expected around end of 2013, with stable v1.6.0 to follow some time in 2014.

Cloud integration

There are several open source implementations for cloud storage. Perhaps the most popular of them is ownCloud. Some of the Inkscape and Krita developers think that ownCloud integration would make sense. GIMP and Scribus developer hadn't commented on it by the time this article was published.

For slightly more tech-savvy users SparkleShare is another completely free (as in speech) alternative that requires setting up a Git repository — either self-hosted or on services such as Github and Gitorious.

In terms of collaboration and integration with existing centralized services free software is behind the times. While it's fairly easy to implement uploader to DeviantArt's Sta.sh, and Matt Stephens personally reached out to as many free software teams as he could, barely anythingone made the move. Few free applications support services like Open Clip Art and Open Font Library, and other services (like a Kuler equivalent) are simply missing.

As for syncing settings between machines, all that Linux users need is to learn how to create symbolic links. That, and fairly commonly used Dropbox (or, again, SparkleShare) are a solution that just works.

Subscriptions and misconceptions

What does switching to Creative Cloud actually mean? For a more complete coverage I suggest reading Forbes's coverage. But here are three essential changes:

  1. Adobe's software becomes a service with monthly billed subscriptions.
  2. Projects storage and collaboration moves further to the cloud (optional).
  3. New features are distributed across Creative Cloud subscribers as soon as they are ready instead of being part of single releases every 18-24 months.

The complete individual plan is $49 a month. It's an annual commitment billed monthly, and it provides access to most commonly used desktop applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign etc. The projected cost of ownership with that plan for 5 years is, therefore, ca. $3000. That's considerably more than $1899 for premium version of CS + $599 upgrade in 18 months. Which is one of the reason some of the users are outraged.

What The Duck promptly responded with a comic strip

But there's no going back: Adobe specifically mentions in the FAQ that they are not planning to provide traditional licensing alongside subscriptions. This makes CS6 the last version of Creative Suite that you can pay once for and then use until the Sun burns out.

There's also quite a few misconceptions about the Creative Cloud. E.g. one of Typophile forum members says:

I guess this is yet another reason I don't what adobe products. Of course with my questionable internet connection, I don't even think that it would be possible.

In an interview to Dpreview.com Winston Hendrickson, Adobe VP of Creative Solutions, specifically explains:

One final point I'd like to address is the misconception that you have to be continuously connected to the Internet to use a CC application. Monthly subscribers can go for as long as 30 days without connecting to the Internet for license validation. Users with an annual commitment can go for as long as 99 days.

Why does Adobe think this is going to work, one might ask?

According to the press-release on Q1 2013 financial results, Adobe ended Q1 with 479 thousand paid Creative Cloud members, an increase of 153 thousand over Q4 2012. In other words, Adobe had a growing user base of Creative Cloud users anyway. Jonathan Williamson ‏of CG Cookie / Blender Cookie is one of them:

I've been on the subscription for a year now and never had a problem. I don't get why people are so pissed with Adobe going subscription only. It's cheaper to maintain a subscription than even biyearly upgrades. For CGC we have 3-4 subscriptions at around $120/month, I believe. With daily use it's way cheaper than buying new licenses. There are problems with cloud subscriptions, but there's also a ton of benefits. I'm very optimistic for it all.

According to the financial Q4 2012 report, Adobe is planning to exit fiscal 2013 year with ~125 million of Creative Cloud subscribers. Is it feasible? Probably not. Q2 2013 report will outline what's realistic.

And thus we come to the initial question: how is it going to affect free software? Are we going to see more users switching to GIMP, Inkscape et al.?

Free software vs. reality

Once you start evaluating, if it's possible to switch to free software, there are a few aspects that need to be taken into consideration beyond not having to buy a license and pay subscriptions. While comparing proprietary software to free software, for the latter users would have to cope with:

For certain tasks and workflows that would result in longer turnover. Drop less quality educational materials (on average) into the equation, and you get even longer initial turnover.

Another important factor is that expectations for desktop software for graphic design and photography are raising all the time. But GIMP, Inkscape, and Scribus teams are still not large enough to handle that.

What it amounts to is that in the years to come we are likely to see about the same market segmentation on the desktop.

Another possibility is that further evolution of mobile devices will bring better mobile apps that substitute fat desktop software even for authoring content. But developers of free software for creating content aren't exactly rushing towards Android. In an already saturated apps market it means less chances for recognition.

Expecting users to drop cloud-based services, centralized networks, and subscription models doesn't seem realistic. The history clearly demonstrates that people happily trade control over their content for features and ease of use.

It is, however, possible to create usable decentralized or self-hosted services based on free software and provide integration for them in free software (something GNOME and KDE already work on).

So you want to switch to free software

Let's say you are so frustrated that you want to evaluate a possibility to switch from Adobe's software to GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus et al.

If you are in photography, your best options on Linux today are darktable, GIMP, and Krita. The latter application is rather a digital painting app, but provides useful features such as adjustment layers.

If you are in desktop publishing, start with Libre Graphics Production. It's a great overview of fre software based DTP workflow.

If you are in digital painting, you have options like GIMP, MyPaint, and Krita. And remember that for Krita you can get regular paid technical support from KO GmbH.

If you are in 2D animation, you are down to Synfig and Tupi, with Synfig currently being better suited for commercial production.

If you are in visual effects business, the best choice currently is Blender's node-based compositing. Alternatively you can try using Synfig's layer-based compositing.


If you've read this far (thank you!), you are probably wondering, what on Earth is going on here, and since when Libre Graphics World started promoting Adobe. Also, why are they bashing free software, who is this Alexandre Prokoudine and how can he live with himself?

The thing is, we've heard “This is the big chance of Linux to advance on desktop” at least half a dozen of times before, most recently — with Windows 8 sales not going as strong as expected. And yet, on a large scale, Linux on desktop is not exactly a huge success.

Adobe's plans are certainly frustrating for some of their customers, but, as demonstrated above, it's a mix of valid concerns, misunderstanding of the changes and the usual initial resistance to changes. We've seen this kind of frustrations before, and Adobe wasn't too badly affected by them. Nor did free software gain a massive user base boost as the result.

Hence it's realistic, in my opinion, to expect that GIMP, Inkscape, Scribus et al. will proceed to improve at the usual pace unless they somehow find a way to draw more developers into the game and work on the educational aspect.

For the rest of us there's a simple actionable advice.

Keep calm and make art

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38 Responses. Comments closed for this entry.

  1. Excellent article! congratulations.

    question, what is the name of inkscape’s icon theme you are using in that screenshot? thx

  2. Haha, Keep Calm and Make ART poster, says all :D

    “This also isn’t tracked as a feature request.”

    There is a place for writing feature requests? I didn’t know about it, I doubt that it would be mailing list or IRC, so where?

  3. Alexandre Prokoudine 10 May 2013 at 9:31 pm

    @LaPeGa, it’s a symbolic theme made by Barbara Muraus last year during Google Summer of Code. It’s here: https://github.com/gnome-design-team/gnome-icons/tree/master/inkscape-symbolic

    @n-pigeon, GNOME’s bugzilla is where feature requests for GIMP are posted :)

  4. Clayton Walker 10 May 2013 at 10:13 pm

    n-pigeon: Your best bet would be to file bug reports marked “Enhancement” in the projects’ respective bug-tracker.

  5. @Alexandre Prokoudine
    Thanks a lot!

    With that icons and Gnome’s Faince theme, my inkscape looks so “pro”.

  6. @Alexandre, You mention only Darktable. What about RAW Therapee and Photivo for RAW processing?

  7. @ Alexandre Prokoudine, Clayton Walker

    Aaaah thats so obvious that I missed it :D thx!

  8. Now this makes me really curious about my possibilities of collaborating with fellow medialogy students after summer vacation using FOSS software only.

  9. @n-pigeon @Alexandre we prefer new features to be discussed on the gimp-developer list first. Bugzilla has too many hit&run; requests already.

  10. Alexandre Prokoudine 11 May 2013 at 12:27 am

    @YAFU, editorial is meant to be opinionated :) If I start listing all options, that will be Wikipedia, not LGW.

  11. So Blender is an exception? I mean, the development is so fast and is really a competitor to commercial software. Hopefully Gimp and Inkscape might have the same success.

  12. @Michael

    You are impostor! Real Mitch would never recommend to use mailing list :D

    Although mailing on gimp-dev first with feature idea is a good idea. :)

  13. Ok ok, you’re right :)P
    I just wanted to know if these two programs could meet the needs of a PS user, regarding RAW.

  14. In addition to the fact that simply paying extra to Adobe over a multi-year period rankles a lot of photographers, another factor which is at least as important is that if you stop paying Adobe money, you have nothing to take away from it. So you might pay $3,000 and then you still don’t have the right to a perpetual license. That just feels nasty.

  15. This is a major turning point, folks! The technical tools are exploding and freedom is threatened at a far greater level than ever before. It’s bad enough that if these Software As A Service models were simply sabatoged it would be as good as improving the Free/Libre alternatives. We MUST reject this insanity.

    There’s no reason in principle that if society has resources to pay these Adobe developers to make these features that we couldn’t just pay them anyway but have the results be Free/Libre, except the system as is doesn’t do that well.

    I’m working to change that but don’t have a fully functioning solution right now, although its in the works.

    Thanks, Alexandre, for sharing your thoughts so lucidly!

  16. Inkscape not much use then? ;-) it doesn’t appear in that advice list. “If making ponies, use Inkscape”

    If you want to increase Inkscape development Alex, we need to convince the project to be more interested in involving economics. We have some good models already being used by projects art and software alike and Inkscape doesn’t do anything in the administrative area required to get money flowing. There seems to be much fear and resistance.

  17. Software as a service is something I’ve been predicting since about 2007 - everyone thought I was crazy. It makes total sense really. At somepoint in time, a program like photoshop becomes so advanced that any new features you can add will become smaller and smaller; thus it’s harder and harder to sell full blown new versions for thousands of dollars. Just like processors started to hit a limit on their progression, software will start having the same problem which means Adobe will start having a financial problem. The subscription model is really just a long term financial life raft for them. You also have to consider the piracy end of things too. You can’t reliably sell something if you can’t reliably control it. This adds WAY more control. I’m predicting that eventually all Adobe products will be available only via the web - you’ll connect to a super computer and view it all via a color managed streaming video showing what you’re doing. This will be awesome for the video folks who need to do intense processing - all from the comfort of you’re laptop, sitting on a park bench sipping you’re tech hippie latte rendering out complex visual effects via a Japanese supercomputer. That’s the future.

  18. Keep calm?

    It’s more like wait for death with arms folded.

    Sooner or later we’re all going to be forced switching to locked down systems which we’re won’t going to be able to run free software, and we’re going to be forced to use the cloud.

    We all must make a decision: we’re willingly migrate to this Brave New World of computing, and either paying for most of the stuff or get it gratis, but at the cost of our privacy;

    Or we grit our teeth and severe all ties with proprietary software, burning those bridges and install a free operating system, say goodbye to commercial entertainment, invest in the P2P-Internet, learn to code, make contributions to the projects one use, stop using services like Google, Facebook, Flickr and many others or use them with layers of defensive protocols, use old, non-locked down hardware, and stockpile spare parts, to replace when the one you use when it breaks down.

    This is the new digital divide, folks. Brace yourselves for it.

  19. Alexandre Prokoudine 11 May 2013 at 3:46 pm

    @Martin, “Inkscape not much use then? ;-) it doesn’t appear in that advice list.” — not even on the Libre Graphics Production website? ;)

    @Chris, “Software as a service is something I’ve been predicting since about 2007 - everyone thought I was crazy.” — Bill Gates predicted that 10 years ago. Noone I know thought he was crazy.

  20. Astroman Pete 11 May 2013 at 6:06 pm

    If Adobe’s subscription model eliminates piracy, this move could be mutually benificial to both the FOSS and Adobe graphics stacks.

  21. @Astroman Pete
    My thoughts exactly. Although I’m guessing that people will just linger with pirated copies of CS6 - it is definitely powerful enough.

  22. Alexandre Prokoudine 11 May 2013 at 9:47 pm

    @Astroman Pete, if you read that interview on dpreview.com, you’ll see Winston saying:

    While service options that connect to our servers are inherently less prone to piracy, once a user downloads software to their computer the piracy threat is the same as for our perpetual products.

  23. Astroman Pete 11 May 2013 at 10:51 pm

    That’s a shame. The large software companies often turn a blind-eye to piracy, in my opinion. I’m certain it helps their install base and market dominance, but it also partitions their users into two categories: criminals and suckers.

  24. Astroman Pete 11 May 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Sorry, that was a bit polemical.

    Anyway, thanks for the great articles. Your site rocks!

  25. “New features are distributed across Creative Cloud subscribers as soon as they are ready instead of being part of single releases every 18-24 months.”
    Haven’t FOSS tools had that for ages? “apt-get upgrade”. Possibly with a project PPA.
    Wouldnt’ a robust cloud collaboration tool that any project can tie in to be a better solution than individual cloud based services?
    Isn’t this really a marketing thing? We need to show what our tools actually are capable of…
    Of course lack of developers is a huge problem, but all the rest?

  26. Would I be correct in saying that the main thing putting people off open source graphics software is the poor CMYK colour handling (not to mention lack of spot colours, trapping and overprint settings)? I know one is supposed to be able to link CMYK ICC profiles in Inkscape, but in my experience it is very hit and miss — it only works with some profiles and not others (and the ones that don’t work are the most common, therefore important ones e.g. US Web Coated and Fogra). Also you have to select each object in the drawing separately, you can’t “select all” and apply the ICC profile to everything, which would make sense. Nor do subsequently created objects automatically take on the ICC profile, which would also make sense and make life easier. And importing SVG’s into Scribus is not an ideal solution as Scribus doesn’t handle SVG text at all well. I’m not that familiar with Gimp, but as far as I know CYMK is also problematic in that program. So surely it would be sensible if all the people from Inkscape, Gimp, Scribus and Cairo put their heads together and worked out a solution to this most pressing of problems. I’m sure once these colour issues are resolved people will flock to this software. Now that Adobe have resorted to digital feudalism, people will be very keen to escape serfdom and open source is the key to freedom.

  27. Alexandre,
    Thanks for your article! I’m a huge fan of open-source graphics programs. (I have GIMP, Inkscape, Blender and Scribus all installed on my computer now). I’ve decided to start to learn coding this summer, both as a hobby and to help out with GIMP and possibly Inkscape development; where do you suggest I start to get headed in that direction?

  28. Agreed with lots of other users, CS6 will keep being the preferred platform for most creatives and web designers.

  29. I’d love to help with the development of GIMP and other free software graphics applications, but the problem is, I’m not much of a coder and wouldn’t really know where to start… is there a way for someone such as myself who only has superficial knowledge of programming to contribute in some way?

    (Other than the obvious ones - testing and submitting bug reports, that is…)

  30. dd - I’m not much of a coder, to be honest, it’s easier to dive into the code and mess about with it and see if you have problems developing things.

    Get in touch with me if you want.

  31. I think Adobe’s decision to move to a subscription model was a good move to protect their place in the market.

    The price of software such as Photoshop has always been a barrier to entry for people just starting out or those with a tight budget. While some resort to pirating many seek alternatives.

    Now that the alternatives are getting to a stage where they can stand up against Photoshop (at least for specialised uses such as web design) Adobe have no choice but to make their software more accessible and affordable.

  32. the answer is piracy ._.

  33. After reading this article I followed a link to Corel saying something like “Corel welcomes CC customers”. I clicked on the video about their Photoshop alternative, Photopaint. It looks stunning… it’s way cheaper and you only pay once and use for ever.

  34. Lawrence D’Oliveiro 01 October 2013 at 11:00 am

    Adobe are freeing themselves from the incentive to turn out any more enhancements on their products. They can keep offering the same old thing, and their customers are going to have to continue paying them regardless.

  35. Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be any real alternatives to Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom. There are some that are getting closer but they will never have the third party tools and plugins available that Adobe has. Adobe could have done a better job on pricing to entice more users to switch to CC.

  36. In addition to the fact that simply paying extra to Adobe over a multi-year period rankles a lot of photographers, another factor which is at least as important is that if you stop paying Adobe money, you have nothing to take away from it. So you might pay $3,000 and then you still don’t have the right to a perpetual license. That just feels nasty.

  37. Great article even at the END of 2014. My take away:
    GIMP, Scribus, at least lets you keep your content. The
    printing industry used to keep the film, negatives and plates
    as their property, the customers software book content / belonged to the author. Business as usual. Even if the licensing is free,
    getting the ISBN isn’t cheap. One way or another, there gonna
    get cha’ , there gonng get cha, get cha, one day maybe next week… BLONDIE